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A Short Course

A look at the pretty young things on Melrose Avenue or a romp through your favorite fashion magazines tells you how short skirts are this season. All the way up to mid-thigh.

Many women have been resisting higher hemlines for one or all of the following reasons: age (over 35), a conservative profession, a significant other who considers his mate “too dignified” to reveal much leg. But the more women look around, the more they get the urge to inch higher. In the words of Betty Leonard, general manager of I. Magnin, Beverly Hills: “The more we see short, the more short looks right to us.”

Marilyn Harding, vice president of the Tobe Report, a New York-based fashion-industry publication, confirms a resistance to rising hemlines, especially among working women. “They feel funny sitting in a chair in short skirts,” she says. Her suggestion is to copy designer looks: Wear tights or opaque hose “so you don’t feel naked.”

Other practical how-tos come from women like Eve Kehr, a 55-year-old Los Angeles grandmother and psychotherapist. Blessed with dancer’s legs, she says she has no problem wearing miniskirts. But only for socializing. When working, she covers her legs with longer skirts.

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For Hunter Drohojowska, a thirty-something art critic on the faculty of Otis/Parsons, the sight of so many “younger women” on campus dressed in black miniskirts and tights influenced her own style. Since last fall, she has gone from skirts 2 inches above the knee to ones 4 to 6 inches above.

New York designer Isaac Mizrahi advises that success with abbreviated hemlines starts in the dressing room.

“Don’t just look at the skirt,” he cautions. “See if it’s so short you can’t sit down or so tight you can’t walk. If your legs aren’t great, you need leggings or tights.”

The idea is also to be assertive. “If you’re wearing short, make it short ,” he says.

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